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The 2014 Aviva Community Fund is complete.

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Building Heroes from Trauma

ACF13153 Interval House of Hamilton Hamilton, Ontario

Created November 17, 2011 by Clare Freeman


Hamilton, Ontario

Funding Level

$100k - 150k (< 2014)

Community Size

Between 100 - 1,000


Each year we see children who have experienced multiple personal traumas and domestic violence. Children who walk with these scares often feel damaged and left out and alone. At times, those around them define them and their lack of confidence, school problems, or aggression by the trauma. However, children are a sum of many experiences, talents and characters. We have designed a program that is activity and creative based that will test the youth and help them develop the Hero within. This includes creative story telling and art making(mask making), team leadership games, physical challenges (dragon boating and/or rock climbing). We have seen youth who did not see they had talents or didn't think they had leadership gifts emerge as confident youth who beleive in their future. This program runs for twelve weeks and would like to keep it going(as we have not funding to run it) and we would like to expand our youth workers to go into the communities and work with youth who are struggling with issues of teen violence(abuser or victim) and work to change the cycle. In addition, we would like to select four youth to go to a leadership based camp that includes a high school credit(Camp Olympia or Blyth). This opportunity would be given to a youth whose parents can not afford the funds to send their child and to a child that is focus on change and may be struggling in school. Our program is the classic story that we all love in our Hero stories like; Spiderman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Avitar, Lord of the Rings. They all have the same theme. A ordinary person who has experienced personal trauma and who does not think they are special or unique is chosen reluctantly, often, to make a journey into the unknown. Leaving everything behind the youth feels unconfident and unsure but as they are tested through challenges they begin to see themselves as unique and gifted. When they return to their old world they are different and more confident. Mentorship and challenges are the things that great leaders and youth who have changed their lives from negative to positive speak about. This program is unique in Hamilton and we would like to expand to reach more youth. Last year we did a mini Heros program with our local police services and the parents and youth told us how much this experience changed. The mom's and youth told us that they thought it was going to be like other groups where they talked a lot and filled out questions. They often say their parents at first made them go but now I WANT to. The parents tell us that they can't beleive the change. I have witnessed youth change before our very eyes. We need you to help us reach out to more youth This is what your support will go towards : We would hire two specialized activity based youth counsellors to run six groups a year for two years and work with selected youth in the schools to provide counselling. In addition, we would send 3 selected youth to these specialized leadership camps. The funds would be to cover their salaries and the costs of the programs(travel, rock climbin rentals, food and supplies)